The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

August 23, 2013

Sports history comes alive in book

My life became a little less hectic this week.

After months of planning and hours of research, the Clinton Herald’s book, “Decades — Camanche, Clinton, Fulton, Prince of Peace,” is finished and will hit the shelves next week.

The book will detail some of the best athletes and teams to play for those schools, and includes a list of all individual and team state champions in state-sanctioned sports from those schools. It features 100 pages of content, including profiles and pictures of more than 60 individuals and 15 teams and dynasties.

To say that this was an exhaustive process would be an understatement. Just ask my wife, who has sat at home many days wondering when I would finish looking for one last picture while caring for a 3-year-old and newborn.

Without her support, my role in this book would not have been possible.

During this process, I became much more appreciative of people who research historical documents. In today’s world, the “search” function makes life too easy. If I want to find a file on my computer, I just type a word in the “search” function, and the file appears.

Looking through old newspapers and microfilm isn’t quite that slick. There’s no keyboard or word search. Just two eyes and the ability to scroll through newspapers that have been around before anyone on this planet was born.

And all of the features — individuals and teams — were under the same scrutiny. Sports Editor Jon Gremmels, Assistant Sports Editor Brenden West and Bob Whitten spent countless hours researching facts and writing stories about athletes and teams on the list. And while they examined content, I looked for photos, which became even more troublesome than I had previously imagined.

Finding original negatives from the 1950s and ‘60s sounds tough. Throw in four more decades and I can safely say it was as difficult as it sounds. But the pictures are unique and help tell the story of that particular person or team.

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